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Dark Ecology: Race, Gender & the Environment

English 252 @ Hunter College

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Enviroment

“Hanging out with Shakespeare at Central Park.”

http://www.shakespeareonthesound.org

Fun things you can do this summer at Central Park IMG_1450

 

 

 

During the semester we have went on many field trips as a class. My favorite was the “Frick Collection,” but my second favorite was taking a stroll through central park to see the statue of Shakespeare. I found this really exciting because we were ending The tempest and starting to read Prospero’s Daughter so it was interesting to discuss the comparisons and differences in each book as we view the statue, asking ourselves “I wish we can ask Shakespeare some questions about The Tempest,” (I know I was thinking about that).

Its interesting to realize that although Shakespeare’s writing can often come by as confusing and sometimes dense, but once you grasp his writing your able to appreciate the text a little bit better and are able to generate ideas as to why he wrote a play like this, or why he made certain characters the way that he did. After reading The Tempest twice I have a different concept the second time around then I did the first time I read this play. I have appreciated this play this time around and I enjoyed it a lot more in English 252.

Shakespeare was a great writer and his words made you think outside of the box. Shakespeare wanted his readers to “close read” “close look” and most importantly “close listen” it is because of Shakespeare that I have enjoyed reading a little more than I did before.

In Central Park, we were also allowed to explore the park and the beauty in the park. The trees, the flowers blossoming it was very peaceful. Nature also played a role in this trip because it was out doors so we were able to explore the park and other statues and gain knowledge on other parts of the park, but it was really a great experience for our class and I’m glad we were able to explore that all together.

Continue reading ““Hanging out with Shakespeare at Central Park.””

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Trip to the Botanical Gardens (Blog Post #3)

It’s finals week for CUNY students. People are burning their candles late into the night, just to finish the third paper due, just to study a little more for their exam tomorrow. Anxiety rises among students quickly, causing nerves and emotions to fray easily.

These kids need a break. So, we went to the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx!

Upon entering the Mertz Library, we were treated to several, well-preserved works from multiple points in history that stuck to the theme of Dark Ecology, most specifically nature. My favorite book here was the one French work where the characters were humanized flowers — each “specimen” was made into a woman in a dress that fit the image of the flower itself; if I were a fashion enthusiast, I would have definitely used that book for inspiration. The work entitled Sea and Land was comprised of stories and descriptions of monsters and flora from the prehistoric era to the then-modern times of approximately 18th or 19th century. These accounts would be of great help to someone like me, with the almost storybook and fantastical-style of recounting this book had.

The Botanical Gardens were absolutely awe-inspiring and filled with plants I had never truly seen in person. It brought upon a weird feeling of being lost, even though I knew exactly where I was. I felt absolutely relieved of the stress finals was pressing onto us at that time.

I’m absolutely returning to the Gardens at some point this summer.

The New York Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens were extraordinary. It was an intimate class experience with a small group of five and we started the day off at the Mertz library. At the library we were able to examine some rare texts including one which was about (praising?) Carolus Linnaeus who created the system by which plants are identified and named according to the sexual components of the plants. The book contained hand-painted plates and florid poetry—the production of the texts lead to the financial ruin of the man who published them (they were great!). There was even a book about a man-eating plant named Elizabite which was written by the same guy who made the Curious George series. The book about Elizabite was the basis for Little Shop of Horrors.

The gardens were also having a display of beautiful contemporary glasswork by an artist named Chihuly, which was an interesting contrast to the old texts we viewed. The sculptures complimented the plants so well and they were littered all over the conservatory—the area in which there were multiple artificial environments (rainforest, more rainforest, more rainforest, and desert).

In the gardens there were so many interesting plants. There were cute little Venus fly-traps and pitcher plants, a palm tree covered in spikes of all sizes, and a turkey oak. It’s amazing to look at these plants and to think of a time when New York was covered in forests. Taking the D-train uptown (despite the crowding) was such a worthwhile experience because it allowed me to feel a little closer to nature and history itself. The gardens are so beautiful and have such a rich history that it’s truly a transcendent experience.

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“Don’t be sick, Lets go to the Frick”

http://www.frick.org/collection/areas_collectionHCF1905_0.jpg

Henry Clay Frick was one of Americas most successful industrialists, he has created masterpieces of western painting, sculpture, and decorative art, displayed in a serene and intimate setting. The Frick Collection offers a unique presentation of artwork.

During the semester, we have visited a few places and even enjoyed a walk in central park to explore and see a statue of Shakespeare, however my favorite trip this semester was visiting the The Frick Collection. It was my favorite because, in class we have explored “close reading” Where we take a passage and analyze the passage and go in depth of what the author is trying to indicate to the readers. In the Frick we explored “close looking” which was a little different. Instead of reading a passage we were asked to go into the painting and try to see whats going on in the painting, why was it painted this way? and what kind of paint was used and why? I found close looking very interesting and more “real”, you were able to see the painting in many different ways and it was easier to analyze.  I think close looking helps to see details in artwork that you couldn’t see before and it also helps with creating another story within the painting which I found intriguing, because I never looked at artwork that way. Sometimes you see a painting as a regular painting, but the truth is they all tell a story you just have use your close looking skills in order to put the pieces of the story together.

We were all paired off into groups and set off into different rooms to close look some paintings. The tour guide that we had was amazing she gave us some much information about all the paintings and their purpose. I really loved all the artwork that was displayed out for everyone to see. I will always close look art work wherever I go. Below are some art work that my group and I were able too see. Test your close looking skills and tell me what you see.

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Mortlake Terrace: Early Summer Morning, 1826 a caption
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Harbor of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile, exhibited 1825
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Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening, 1826

Celebration Time: April 22-April 23

As we come closer and closer to the end of this semester, with just one more month to go, it’s nice to look back at some of our discussions. This past weekend was, interestingly enough, extremely relevant to our class discussions, since it was both Earth Day on Saturday and Shakespeare’s birthday on Sunday.

1972_earth          Shakespeare english-literature

(Photo of the Earth taken from nasa.gov; photo of Shakespeare taken from oxbridgefutureleaders.com)

According to the Earth Day website:

April 22nd marks national Earth Day, which dates back to 1970, as “the birth of the modern environmental movement.”

After seeing the harmful effects of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969, Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin at that time, decided to incorporate a day that emphasizes the importance of protecting the environment. This became known as Earth Day. Earth Day is a day to bring awareness to environmental care, as well as to celebrate the planet that unites all people, all animals, and and the wholeness of our world.

Gaylord Nelson

(Senator Nelson speaking of environmental change, 1970; photo taken from wisconsinhistory.org)

In short, since April 22nd, 1970, environmental associations in conjunction with the Earth Day initiative have led citizens to the awareness of “oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife.” Beyond this, upon entering the new millennium, Earth Day representatives have also pushed for awareness of global warming and clean energy. This movement in environmentalism has opened up the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts, and has emphasized the importance of protecting trees and forests. As of today, more than 192/206 countries observe Earth Day.

 

shakespeare birthday

(This comic pic of Shakespeare is taken from momfluential.net)

Following the celebration of Earth Day, April 23rd is traditionally regarded as Shakespeare’s Day. Although little is known about the great poet and playwright William Shakespeare, April 23rd is regarded as the date of both his birth and his death. While April 26th is regarded as Shakespeare’s baptismal day, April 23rd remains the celebrated day of Shakespeare’s life. Shakespeare is accredited with some of the best works of the English language and of literature for all time. Shakespeare lived from 1564-1616, and, according to research, died on his 52nd birthday, during his retirement. Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 marked the 453rd birthday of William Shakespeare.

cakespeare 023    Jane_Asher_launches_Cakespeare_2_c_Victoria_and_Albert_Museum_London_1

(This is a picture of a cake made for the 450th birthday competition held in London in 2014, a competition called Cakespeare; this first photo is taken from Pinterest. The second is a picture of Jane Asher’s cake for the competition; this photo is taken from the Time Out London blog.)

 

Works accredited to William Shakespeare:

Comedies
All’s Well That Ends WellAs You Like ItCymbelineThe Comedy of ErrorsLove’s Labour’s LostMeasure for MeasureThe Merchant of VeniceThe Merry Wives of WindsorA Midsummer Night’s DreamMuch Ado About NothingPericlesThe Taming of the ShrewThe TempestTroilus and CressidaThe Two Gentlemen of VeronaTwelfth NightThe Winter’s Tale

Tragedies
Antony and CleopatraCoriolanusHamletJulius CaesarKing LearMacbethOthelloRomeo and JulietTimon of AthensTitus Andronicus

Histories
1,2, and 3 Henry VI1 and 2 Henry IVKing JohnHenry VHenry VIIIRichard IIRichard III

(This list has been made by Amanda Mabillard.)

 

For information on Earth Day:

http://www.earthday.org/about/the-history-of-earth-day/

For information on Shakespeare:

Mabillard, Amanda. How Many Plays Did Shakespeare Write?Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/numberofplays.html >.

http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/numberofplays.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/almanac-shakespeares-birth-and-death/

 

 

 

 

M.I.A Born Free video Apocalypse and Genocide *Trigger Warning*

MIA_press_photo_2016M.I.A is one of my favorite music artists that are relevant in today’s world. There’s not much known about her especially in mainstream media because she isn’t exactly one of those artists that has the mind set of conforming her ideals and image into what people want to see or want her to be. There have been many controversies surrounding her and that’s probably one of the reasons why I look up to her because she is a rebel with a cause. M.I.A tries to spread the word of corruption in our world through her music and music videos. One of those music videos is for a single she released about seven years ago named “Born Free”. The music video doesn’t have many fans for a reason. My first initial reaction to the music video was that it was pretty disturbing and pretty graphic, but then when I started thinking more about, I see more disturbing things on my Facebook feed everyday. There are videos on my feed from Syria and terrorist attacks in Egypt, Paris, Boston, London, New York, Spain, Switzerland. There are mass shootings almost everyday and I have sat next to people on the trains and buses who are so high off their mind they cant even open their eyes or articulate a sentence. We witness oppression everyday whether it be our own or someone else but it is happening in our world right now, it is in our facebook, instagram, tumblr, and any other social media feed we use. We just choose what to make a big deal of and what we can brush under the carpet. When I start critically thinking about everything that’s going on in today’s world and what I see every five minutes on my news feed, the video seems like a fairy tale. Nothing has changed in this world it’s just a different era with different ways of communicating our message. M.I.A with the help of a french director named Romain Gavras through the “Born Free” music video is trying to reach out to the people who can take this video and understand that it can fit in any type of society and situation in the world. All the events going on at the moment is becoming the destruction of who we are. The human race hasn’t made any improvement in the morality department. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.   MTV NEWS ARTICLE

Solitude in the Rain

This past weekend, Makoto Shinkai’s latest hit film『君の名は』(Kimi no Na wa) or Your Name in English, has finally been released in theaters throughout the United States. Having released last year in Japan, the film has become Japan’s #1 film of 2016 and has more recently surpassed legendary Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away as the highest grossing anime film of all time. For those unfamiliar, Makoto Shinkai has been called “The New Miyazaki” due to his talent in animation, stunning visuals and portrayal of emotional themes. To celebrate the release of his recent film, I have chosen to write about one of his works in relation to the themes of our class. In particular, I would like to discuss『言の葉の庭』(Kotonoha no Niwa) or The Garden of Words in English, and its theme of isolation. Continue reading “Solitude in the Rain”

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